Drummond Hill Newsletter, July 13, 2022
Wednesday Meditation (Luke 12:22,23)
And again he said, ‘To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
Making bread is not as easy as we think. It is a humble chemistry project that has been passed on down generations after generations. Many mothers learned from their mothers. Many bakers learned from their mentors. Once you know the basics of bread making things come naturally.
Kingdom of God is not a mysterious project. Sure, many pastors try their best to teach how to be members of God’s kingdom. There are discipleship courses, ‘how to’ workshops, and myriads of books on building God’s kingdom. So many people have toiled so diligently and put their best efforts in teaching others to live in God’s kingdom. Commandments and rules are plentiful.
Yet, Jesus makes all things simple. How does he explain to people about God’s kingdom? What theological, philosophical, sociological, and psychological methodology does he use to make it plain to those who are focused on daily living? Did Jesus not make his explanation about God’s kingdom mysterious for so many ministers, pastors, scholars, and theologians to interpret and shine light on it?
Jesus uses simple and direct language. Each person can listen and understand. Every person who has made bread can relate. Others who have seen how bread is made can understand. It is a general knowledge, shared by the whole. It is not mysterious and specific in a way that only the select few are chosen to learn about the secrets of making bread. Everyone knows what yeast does in bread making.
So Jesus compares God’s kingdom to yeast. It is something that is abundant in our environment. It is there without being seen, yet, is abundant. Indeed, during the pandemic lockdown, many people learned that yeast will naturally infuse wet doughs and begin working on these wet flours.
The kingdom of God is not what we train for to stay in, something that we must work hard to obtain in order to belong, or even to acquire through endless studies of the Scriptures. It is all around us and in us. If we let it, it works within us and makes us love God and neighbours. We simply need to be like flours with the right amount of water.
It's summer, the time when life flourishes!
How do we worship during summer months? This is a fascinating question. Many people who do not attend church regularly, but call themselves spiritual, speak of being in God’s presence as they spend time in nature. For example, many people talk about finding peace and God on the mountain tops as they sit and enjoy the beautiful vista below them, watching beautiful sunsets on beaches, or simply being surrounded by flowers and birds.
We could parse a thousand different ways to figure out what true worship is. However, we never seem to be able to express when my whole being was worshipping God. We hear and marvel about Christian saints who could worship in truth, but we never think of ourselves being immersed in worship if we are not surrounded by Christians, praising, singing, praying, listening to sermons, and giving offerings.
Yet, worship is not as complicated as we think or we make it out to be. Worship is simply being in God’s presence, receiving God’s love, sharing God’s joy, and enjoying God to the full. It is a way of recognizing, attributing, and returning God’s worthiness as the Creator of all life by giving our adoration and reverence. In this sense, summer days in nature are very conducive to worship God. When we are totally focused on something other than ourselves, when we recognize what life truly is, not just our own, but life in totality, and when we bring our adoration and gratitude to God for this life that includes ours, we are worshipping.
Summer Things To do: A different way of thinking what a new church can be
They are everywhere. They take over finely prepared flowerbeds as if we worked hard putting compost and making the ground soft for them. These uninvited guests take over and often out-compete very pretty flowers we plant making our garden look overrun and unkempt.
Yet, once in a while, birds and winds do marvelous things by dropping seeds of beautiful and exotic flowers. When these exquisite flowers bloom out of nowhere, without our efforts, we are glad. Indeed, if you let these unknown shoots grow, we would find many ways that God brings life.
Some of us are very good at weeding. Some of us use lots of mulches (or landscape fabrics) to keep weeds off in the first place. Keeping a nice garden is a constant struggle to choose between what we want to keep and keep out. Gardening, of course, is a very close substitute to farming. Gardening methods resemble best farming practices. It is all about managing a piece of land to grow what we want.
Lately, many different farming methods have been promoted to protect the environment as we begin facing climate change and global warming. From our indigenous sisters, we learn about the “three sisters” way where corn, squash, and beans grow together to enhance each other. From indigenous South Asians in Southern China, we learn about layered farming, growing enough for a family in a small plot of land. Indeed, many ways allow weeds to flourish alongside our vegetables, instead of killing them all.
As we try to figure out what kind of church we ought to be in the next five to ten years, we could learn a lot from seeing how our world is re-learning to feed people around the world by examining and improving the old ways of growing food. In the past century, we have become so convinced in our scientific method of industrial farming, we casted away all those ancient wisdoms that fed people plentifully while keeping soils rich in nutrients, and diverse in providing abundant life.
In many ways, being a church is also at the similar stage of re-learning and figuring out how to apply those ancient wisdoms to today’s ever changing world. We have been sold on a way of being a church and many industrial, technological, and modern scientific ways of being and growing churches. It is time for us to look at our past and present. Learn from the past as we plot for the future.
Don’t forget Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays!
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.